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Jordan Says It's Ready If Syria Becomes Danger

Secretary of State John Kerry (left) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah at the Dead Sea last month. Jim Young/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Jim Young/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State John Kerry (left) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah at the Dead Sea last month.

Jim Young/AFP/Getty Images

Jordan's King Abdullah says his country stands ready to respond to any threat from a spillover of the civil war in neighboring Syria, a day after the U.S. announced it would leave fighter jets and Patriot missiles in his country after joint military exercises end this week.

"If the world does not help as it should, and if the matter becomes a danger to our country, we are able at any moment to take the measures to protect the country and the interest of our people," Abdullah said, speaking to graduating military cadets.

He said Jordan "will emerge victorious in the face of all challenges, the way we always have in the past."

As NPR's Deborah Amos reports from Amman, the Pentagon's decision to leave the F-16s and missiles in Jordan at the conclusion of the exercises has led to speculation they could be used in establishing a no-fly zone over Syria.

The White House last week said it would provide direct military support to rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad after it established that Syria had used sarin gas against its people.

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Amos says Jordan has backed the U.S. campaign against the Syrian regime and "has become a transit route for secret arms shipments and hosted a covert rebel training program."